09/30/11 11:30 PM ET
Big Papi will miss playing under Francona
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Francona and the Red Sox parted ways on Friday, and the news saddened Ortiz, who has long had an open and honest relationship with his manager.
"We're going to miss him," Ortiz said. "Tito is a good dude. Tito was a guy I played eight years for. We're going to miss him. In my situation, I never got in Tito's way and he never got in mine. He pretty much would remind me about some things sometimes when I really needed it. But that's life. Life continues. I know he'll be somewhere else at some point."
While Francona said he felt he was having more trouble getting through to the team than in years past, Ortiz said he didn't see any of that.
"One thing I can tell you is that Tito never talked about any personal problems," Ortiz said. "I would talk to Tito during the game if we had to talk about something, or before the game. If he had any problems [with others], he hid it pretty good. I can't really tell you about that."
Amid a 7-20 September by the Red Sox, Francona was impacted along with everyone else.
"He might have been stressing out a little bit because of the way we were playing and things like that, you know what I'm saying? I was stressing out myself, a lot," Ortiz said.
One of the main reasons Francona mentioned for leaving was what he felt to be a shifting dynamic in the clubhouse, in which players didn't have the same one-for-all attitude as in years past.
If that was indeed the case, Ortiz made it clear that it was the fault of certain players, not Francona.
"In my situation, the clubhouse is my house because I spend so much time in it," Ortiz said. "But it's not like if I get mad on the field, I'm going to bring it into the clubhouse. It's not that I'm going to be complaining about stupid things. I know that complaining doesn't resolve problems. I'm not into any of that stuff, but not everybody is the same."
Ortiz, like Francona, felt that everyone's focus should have been on one thing in September -- doing whatever it took to win.
"I always tried to do whatever it takes to win games, you know what I'm saying?" Ortiz said. "I get along with everyone, with the rookies, with my older teammates, everybody. Like I said man, I go to the field trying to beat up on the opposition. I'm not worrying about any little stupid things that bother other guys. It doesn't bother me. I'm not into that. I'm not a fan of putting up with that stuff. If he was having trouble with guys, I didn't see that. It might have happened. Who knows?"
Ortiz doesn't buy the suggestion that Francona's departure was needed to serve as a wakeup call to the team.
"I think the way we played in September should be a wakeup call for everybody because it was bad. It was bad. It was unbelievable," Ortiz said.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz, along with other homegrown players like Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester, have never played for another Major League manager aside from Francona.
"It's going to be different. That's the only big league clubhouse I've ever had has been with him in there," Buchholz said. "It was always just real relaxed. It was a relaxed atmosphere. I know that not all managers are like that. If something happens and we get a different personality guy to come in there, it will be a little different. I guess it's part of the job. That's the business of it."
Buchholz was a little stunned to see his manager go just two days after the season ended.
"I never even took it into consideration to even think about it," Buchholz said. "Whenever all the stuff started swirling around on the Internet and everything and on the TV, that's when everything clicked and I was like, 'I might not have the same manager next year if this keeps going the way it's going.'"
But Francona is going, going, gone, and the clubhouse will have to adapt to a new leader when Spring Training begins in February.